Taking responsibility for your health is the key to living better for longer

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Encouraging everyone to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing will be vital in maintaining health and care services for the future. Now, local people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being asked to share their views on how they can be supported to live healthier for longer.

Together We’re Better (TWB), the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, is encouraging people to make their voice count through their 12-week public conversation. This is the last week for the conversation, with the survey due to close at midnight on the 25 August.

Health and care services, both nationally and locally, face growing demand, which could be significantly reduced by supporting people to lead healthier lifestyles and to self-care for long-term conditions. Locally, we know that:

  • People in Stoke-on-Trent have a lower life expectancy and a lower healthy life expectancy than the national average
  • In Stoke-on-Trent, more people under the age of 75 die from cancer than the national average
  • More people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have diabetes or heart disease than the national average
  • In general, more people in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have strokes, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes than the national average.

This conversation will help inform future services, ensuring a preventative approach to tackling health inequalities and rising demand.

Andrew Donaldson, Director of the Prevention Programme for Together We’re Better, commented:

“We need to fundamentally transform health and care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, so that this is the best place to live and work. We need to get better at helping people to manage their own health and wellbeing to prevent them from becoming poorly in the first place. This will mean our services are better able to support people who have multiple and complex conditions.

“We hope this conversation will help us to understand how we can encourage and equip people to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing, so they live better for longer.  We want to get as broad a range of views as possible so we can design health and care services for the future that are fit for purpose and sustainable.”

It is estimated that only 10 per cent of a population’s health is healthcare related, with housing, poverty and education key factors in determining someone’s wellbeing. This means taking a wider perspective, to help reduce: 

  • Obesity and diabetes through good diet and proper exercise
  • Health admissions related to smoking or alcohol consumption
  • Mental and physical ill-health through isolation
  • Suicide rates through early access to support.

Andrew Donaldson adds: “A key priority for us will be to connect with the voluntary sector, who are the experts in developing local community initiatives that help people access advice and support. Connecting people with local support groups, also known as ‘social prescribing’, can be an effective alternative to medication. Examples include gardening clubs and allotments, sports clubs, cookery classes and even friendship groups. And it is about more than just physical health needs. There are also important benefits to mental health from the social, emotional and practical support of establishing and maintaining connections with the community.

“This is the last week of our public conversation and I hope that local people will share their experiences, of what is working well and what can be improved.”

How to get involved

More information about the 12-week public conversation can be found on Together We’re Better’s website atwww.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/get-involved/health-and-care. There you will be able to:

  • Read our Health and Care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent document, and Summary document, that goes into more detail about what this is about, why change is needed, the challenges and opportunities locally and the areas we need to talk about
  • Complete an online survey that seeks your views. Hard copies of the survey, including an Easy Read version can also be provided by getting in touch through our Contact Us page
  • For more information or to get help completing the survey, call us on 01785 276926.

You can follow Together We’re Better on Twitter @TWBstaffsstoke and on Facebook @TWBStaffsandStoke.

Want to find out more? Listen to Andrew talk about why taking a proactive approach to prevention is important to improving health and care services.